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UK weather: Hottest day of the year as temperatures hit 30C | UK News

Today has been the hottest day of the year so far in the UK, the Met Office has said.

A high of 30C (86F) was recorded in Chertsey, Surrey.

It’s the highest recorded in the UK since 10 September last year, the weather agency said.

Winterbourne in Gloucestershire had 28.7C, Pershore in Worcestershire 28C, and Usk in Monmouthshire 27C.

It could get even hotter on Wednesday and some areas could see 31C (87.8F), the Met Office added.

A yellow alert from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is in place for most of England until 5pm on Thursday.

It warns there could be “significant impacts” in the health and social care sector and an increase in mortality in over-65s and people with health conditions.

See the latest weather forecast where you are

Things are expected to cool a little just before the weekend, but it will remain warm.

The Met Office said the hot spell could become a heatwave, which technically occurs when temperatures go above a set threshold for three days in a row.

Read more:
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Pic: UKHSA
Image:
The yellow alert covers most of England. Pic: UKHSA

Music fans heading to Glastonbury are also set for a treat.

Festival gates open on Wednesday, when Worthy Farm is forecast to get 27C, and the weekend is shaping up to stay largely fine.

However, there is a chance of a bit of rain on Saturday.

The hot spell marks a break from the rainy spring, which saw 32% more rain than average in England and Wales, making it the fifth wettest for England and the eighth wettest for Wales, said the Met Office.

Princess Anne’s husband Sir Tim Laurence arrives at hospital to visit his wife | UK News

Princess Anne’s husband has arrived for a visit at the hospital where she was taken following an injury believed to have been caused by a horse.

Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence arrived by car at the main entrance of Southmead Hospital, north Bristol, shortly after midday on Tuesday.

He and the Princess Royal are expected to eat lunch together.

It is believed his wife suffered minor injuries to her head and a concussion caused by impact with a horse’s head or leg.


Trooping of the Colour ceremony ** STORY AVAILABLE, CONTACT SUPPLIER** Featuring: Princess Anne Where: London, United Kingdom When: 15 Jun 2024 Credit: Dutch Press Photo/Cover Images **NOT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLICATION IN THE NETHERLANDS OR FRANCE** (Cover Images via AP Images)
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Princess Anne at Trooping the Colour this year. Pic: Dutch Press Photo/Cover Images/AP

It is understood she was admitted to the southwest England hospital, which is a major trauma centre, after emergency services and an air ambulance attended her Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire.

Anne married Sir Tim, her second husband, in a low-key ceremony in 1992.

The Olympic-medal winning horsewoman is expected to stay in hospital until later this week.

“Her Royal Highness remains in Southmead Hospital, Bristol, as a precautionary measure for observation and is expected to make a full and swift recovery,” a statement by Buckingham Palace said on Monday.

The King was informed of his sister’s injuries and joined the rest of the royal family in wishing her a a “speedy recovery”, the statement added.

The palace said the princess is “recovering well”.

Doctors have recommended she postpone engagements for the week ahead. It is understood that includes a trip to Canada scheduled for the end of this week.

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“Her Royal Highness sends her apologies to any who may be inconvenienced or disappointed as a result,” a palace official said.

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Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US after reaching plea deal | World News

US authorities have agreed to drop their demand for Julian Assange to be extradited from the UK after reaching a plea deal with the WikiLeaks founder.

In return for pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information, Assange will be sentenced to time served, 62 months – the time he has already spent in a British prison, according to court documents.

Once the guilty plea is accepted by a judge, the 52-year-old will be free to return to Australia, the country of his birth.

Read more: Timeline of Assange’s 13-year legal battle for freedom

American prosecutors had alleged that Assange put lives at risk when he helped former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks put online in 2010.

He has been locked in a legal battle in the UK over his extradition, which included him entering the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in 2012 prior to his detention in Belmarsh prison – where he has been since May 2019.

Julian Assange at Stansted Airport Pic: Wikileaks
Image:
Assange at the airport after leaving prison. Pic: WikiLeaks

‘Julian is free!’

In a post on X, WikiLeaks said Assange left Belmarsh on Monday morning after being granted bail by the High Court. By the afternoon he was at Stansted Airport where he boarded a plane and left the UK.

“After more than five years in a 2×3 metre cell, isolated 23 hours a day, he will soon reunite with his wife Stella Assange, and their children, who have only known their father from behind bars,” the organisation said.

Mrs Assange also took to social media, sharing a video montage of her husband in a car and then boarding a plane.

She wrote: “Julian is free!!!!

“Words cannot express our immense gratitude to YOU – yes YOU, who have all mobilised for years and years to make this come true. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.”

Stella Assange speaking in London on 26 March. Pic: PA
Image:
Stella Assange speaking in London on 26 March. Pic: PA

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Assange leaves UK after deal with USA

Assange’s plea and sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday morning, local time (Tuesday evening UK time) on Saipan, one of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The hearing is taking place in the US Commonwealth territory because of Assange’s opposition to travelling to one of the 50 US states and the court’s proximity to Australia.

Craig Murray, a friend of Assange, told Sky News the news was “absolutely wonderful”.

He said: “The whole family is totally elated that we have finally got an end to this terrible saga.”

Mr Murray said the entire ordeal has been “very taxing” on Assange with his imprisonment taking a toll on both his physical and mental health.

Analysis: Plea deal marks end of a transatlantic tug of war

He added: “We are lucky that he is a very resilient man and he will recover and we will get our Julian fully back.”

More than a decade-long fight

Assange has been fighting extradition to the US for more than a decade.

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Who is Julian Assange?

In a January 2021 ruling, then district judge Vanessa Baraitser said he should not be sent to the US, citing a real and “oppressive” risk of suicide, while ruling against him on all other issues.

Later that year, US authorities won a High Court bid to overturn this block, paving the way towards Assange’s extradition.

Why has the US dropped the extradition demand?

The US formally asked the UK to extradite Julian Assange to face charges that he conspired to hack government computers and violated an espionage law in 2019.

After five years, this request has been dropped, with the US having come to a plea deal with the WikiLeaks founder – but why now?

Former CIA chief of staff, Larry Pfeiffer, says it is not unusual for these sorts of espionage cases to be adjudicated through plea deals.

“In these sorts of cases justice may not be the only issue that needs to be dealt with,” he told Sky News.

Mr Pfeiffer said if the case ever went to trial it would have risked “sources and methods” that the US military and government use being exposed.

“[This case] also served as a thorn in UK-US relations and US-Australian relations,” he added.

“It was creating issues surrounding what we all love, which is liberty and freedom of the case. By resolving this we resolved some of those troublesome issues.”

Mr Pfeiffer says overall he thinks the plea deal is a “win, win”.

In June 2022, the UK government approved the extradition of Assange to the US, with then home secretary Priti Patel having signed the extradition order.

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In February of this year, he made one final attempt under UK law to avoid being sent to the US.

In March, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson dismissed most of Assange’s legal arguments – but said unless assurances were given by the US, he would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds.

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These assurances were that Assange would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment – which protects freedom of speech in the US – that he would not be “prejudiced at trial” due to his nationality, and that the death penalty would not be imposed.

Three months later, in May, two High Court judges ruled that he would be allowed to appeal against being extradited, would not face the death penalty and that he could rely on the First Amendment if he faced a trial for spying.

The Australian government said it continues to provide consular assistance to Assange.

“Prime Minister Albanese has been clear – Mr Assange’s case has dragged on for too long and there is nothing to be gained by his continued incarceration,” a spokesperson said.

Mother killed her two children ‘because she didn’t want her husband to have them’, court told | UK News

A mother dialled 999 and told the operator “I just killed my two kids” after attacking them with a knife, a court has been told.

Veronique John killed her seven-year-old daughter Elizabeth and 11-year-old son Ethan because she did not want her husband to have them, prosecutors told Nottingham Crown Court.

Warning: This article contains descriptions of violence against children some may find distressing

The trial-of-facts hearing heard John stabbed Ethan more than 20 times and inflicted brain damage on her daughter Elizabeth, before heading to a car wash in a dressing gown to stab her partner Nathan John in the stomach.

She then returned home, dialled 999 and said: “I am calling to report I just killed my two kids.”

The charity shop worker allegedly told police who arrived at her home in Stoke-on-Trent on 11 June last year: “If you have a gun shoot me. I am not a monster – he was going to take them from me.”

A day before the fatal attacks, John had been arrested for assaulting her husband with a piece of wood while their children were getting ready for bed. She had allegedly suspected him of having an affair.

The court was told John and her husband had experienced profound difficulties in their relationship and she had not wanted him to have an internet-enabled phone.

Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said John’s “rage was boiling just under the surface” in the hours before the children were killed.

“What happened on 11 June didn’t come out of the blue. Tension grew in the days before. That day she just erupted, killed her children and attacked Nathan,” he said.

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John killed her children hours after making a “chilling” internet search asking, “Can a foreigner be charged with murder in the UK?”, Mr Grieves-Smith said.

Ethan was pronounced dead after being found in a bedroom with a 17cm-long neck wound, while Elizabeth was discovered in the living room, having suffered head trauma and “three areas of sharp force”, including to her stomach.

The jury was told a neighbour heard “high-pitched screaming and crying that lasted for a little while” a few minutes before John walked to the car wash where her husband had stayed the night.

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The court heard how the 50-year-old later told interviewing officers: “I didn’t want my husband to get them [the children].”

She continued: “It’s something I was thinking about for a long time – just kill myself and the kids. Unless you guys are offering me the death penalty I have nothing else to say.

“I did it because I love my children – to protect the children. If there’s any possible way I could be put to death, I would like that. I mean it 100%.”

John, of Flax Street, Stoke, is charged with two counts of murder, attempted murder and an alternative count of wounding, but has been ruled unfit to plead.

She is being treated at a secure hospital and was not in the dock to hear the Crown’s opening speech.

The trial continues.

Rishi Sunak says he is not being investigated in betting scandal probe | Politics News

Rishi Sunak has said he is not being investigated by the Gambling Commission as part of its probe into bets placed on the date of the election.

The prime minister also said the Conservatives would conduct their own internal investigation into the allegations that have dogged the latter part of his campaign.

Speaking to reporters in Edinburgh, Mr Sunak said his party “will act” if the Conservatives’ own inquiry into the alleged betting scandal finds wrongdoing.

“The Gambling Commission is independent of government – it’s independent of me,” he said.

“I don’t have the details of their investigation, right? They don’t report to me, I don’t have the details, but what I can tell you is, in parallel we’ve been conducting our own internal inquiries and of course will act on any relevant findings or information from that and pass it on to the Gambling Commission.”

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Home secretary quizzed over betting scandal

When asked whether he had ever bet on politics whilst being an MP, Mr Sunak replied: “No.”

The prime minister, who also ruled out any of his family members’ alleged involvement, is in Scotland to help Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross launch the party’s manifesto.

Speaking before the visit, Mr Sunak said the Scottish Conservatives are “sending the nationalists the strongest message possible that the people of Scotland want to move on from their independence obsession”.

The Conservative campaign has been plunged into crisis over claims several people associated with the party placed bets on the date of the general election.

Read more
Bookies to reveal election bets £20 and above
Another top Tory being investigated

Craig Williams admitted to betting on the election date. Pic: PA
Image:
Craig Williams admitted to betting on the election date. Pic: PA

Laura Saunders is the party’s candidate in Bristol North West.
Pic: Laura Saunders for Bristol North West
Image:
Laura Saunders is the party’s candidate in Bristol North West.
Pic: Laura Saunders for Bristol North West

Craig Williams, Mr Sunak’s parliamentary private secretary and Tory candidate in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, admitted to placing a “flutter” on the date of the election and is facing an investigation.

Tony Lee, the party’s director of campaigns, and his wife Laura Saunders, the Tory candidate for Bristol North West, are also under investigation.

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Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has rejected calls including from within Tory ranks for those facing an investigation to have the party whip withdrawn while the probe is ongoing.

Britain’s homeless question whether to vote in the general election when political promises always fall short | UK News

Trevor is too scared to sleep in a tent at night like the other rough sleepers.

He sleeps on a park bench or in a doorway. It’s safer.

“Some people come along and set your tent on fire,” he tells me.

He says no one ever zips up their sleeping bags or tent doors in case they need to escape quickly.

This shocking story of the dangers faced by being homeless on the streets of London doesn’t seem to shock Trevor. It’s just part of life, he says.

“There’s no point reporting it to the police, they won’t do anything.”

At 53 years old, Trevor has been homeless for the best part of a decade.

Trevor
Image:
Trevor often sleeps on a park bench or in a doorway

In and out of temporary accommodation, night shelters and hostels. He says he’s tired.

But he’s also fed up with what he says is a long line of broken political promises that have failed to tackle Britain’s worsening housing crisis.

“Every government has always said that they are going to solve this problem. But none of them have,” he says.

Trevor is right. Because the latest figures are stark and reveal a worsening situation.

In the run-up to the election, all of the political parties are promising to tackle the issue.

A ‘source of national shame’

The annual rough sleeping snapshot provides the government’s estimate for how many people were rough sleeping on a given night in autumn 2023.

It shows that 3,898 people were sleeping rough across England, an increase of 27% on the previous year.

And the number of people sleeping rough is now 61% higher than it was 10 years ago.

The Conservatives defend their record despite not having met their 2019 manifesto promise to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Homelessness in London
Image:
Broken political promises that have failed to tackle Britain’s worsening housing crisis

While Labour says they want to build 1.5 million new homes in their first five years in power.

But crucially, there is no target for the number of affordable or social homes Labour would build.

And that is central to easing the housing crisis, according to Matt Downie, chief executive of the homeless charity Crisis.

“The scale of rough sleeping is now a source of national shame. It is a sign of extreme inequality and must prompt a rethink at the highest levels of government,” he says.

Trevor
Image:
Trevor has been homeless for the best part of a decade

“It cannot be overstated how dehumanising sleeping on the streets is. Through our frontline services we hear directly from people who have been spat at, urinated on or attacked simply because they do not have the security of a safe home. Things have got to change.

“To bring these numbers down, we urgently need Westminster to put long-term funding into the proven solutions. We need to see a commitment to build the levels of social housing we need every year.”

For Trevor, who is desperate to find a place to call home, the sums do not add up.

In his area of Brent, northwest London, rooms rent for upwards of £1,000 a month. He has come to a Crisis drop-in centre to get help.

But they are busier than ever, explains operations manager Nick Bradshaw.

Nick Bradshaw
Image:
Nick Bradshaw says Crisis has seen a 40 to 50% increase in some of the people approaching them for support

“Over the last six months, we’ve seen a 40 to 50% increase in some of the people approaching us for support. Which is huge,” Mr Bradshaw says.

“We’re seeing a lot more older adults in their 60s, 70s and 80s who have been in insecure accommodation, who are not able to stay there any more or have been sofa surfing.”

A rise in older homeless people

This rise in older people needing help is worrying charities like Crisis.

Older people can be more vulnerable, struggle with their health and can be harder to house because they might have less financial stability.

Homelessness among those aged 65 onwards has jumped by 13% in the last year. Now almost 14,000 people are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, according to the charity Independent Age.

67-year-old Cleon Riley
Image:
Cleon Riley, 67, has been homeless since his partner died

At the drop in centre, I meet 67-year-old Cleon Riley, who has lived in this area all his life.

He tells me his partner died last month and the landlord wanted him out of the flat they shared.

“The landlord changed the locks and I was out on the street,” he says.

He tells me that one landlord wanted £1,000 for a room. He cannot afford that. So he has been sleeping in a night shelter and wandering the streets during the day.

Stats

This centre is full of people who have been let down by the housing system. Most here tell me they feel forgotten about.

But there is one thing they can do to make their voices heard.

‘I don’t have faith in politics’

In the kitchen area, the homeless men are being urged to sign up to vote in this election.

Trevor is looking over the forms he needs to fill out in order to vote on 4 July.

Trevor hasn't voted since Brexit
Image:
Trevor hasn’t voted since Brexit

He says he has always tried to vote. Brexit was the last time he went to a polling station.

“I don’t have much faith in politics or the government. I don’t think they’ve given me much inspiration recently,” he says.

And it is perhaps understandable that Trevor feels this way.

Read more:
Plans to ‘criminalise’ homelessness scrapped
Families homeless despite empty houses
Almost one million renters given no-fault evictions

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The COVID pandemic and subsequent cost of living crisis has not just hit the homeless hard. Britons have seen the biggest drop in living standards in a generation and public services are stretched.

I ask Trevor if he will vote. He’s not sure.

“Who am I voting for? Voting for change? What change? I’m 53 years of age. Nothing will change for us after this election. It’s like we’ve been forgotten.”

Nigel Farage claims Donald Trump ‘learned a lot from me’ | Politics News

Nigel Farage has claimed former US president Donald Trump “learned a lot” from studying his speeches before he ran for office.

The Reform UK leader denied he thought he was Britain’s version of Trump, telling ITV’s The Leader Interviews – Tonight programme: “I think we’re very different but I think we think the same on many things.”

He added: “He’s learned quite a lot from me, I think it goes both ways… He was watching my speeches in the European Parliament for many years… before he decided to run.”

Follow the latest updates on the general election campaign

When asked if the former president had told him this, Mr Farage replied: “I know that to be true.”

Mr Farage is close to Trump and has repeatedly praised the former US president.

Before his decision to join Reform UK earlier this month, Mr Farage had said he planned to help Trump with his presidential campaign this year.

But he has since admitted: “If I’m elected the MP for Clacton, and I’m there every Friday… it’ll become more difficult but not impossible.”

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PM condemns Farage’s Ukraine war comments

Farage doubles down on Ukraine comments

In the interview Mr Farage also doubled down on his claim the West “provoked” Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Asked how he would deal with the Russian president, he told ITV: “Well, we’ve tried of course through sanctions to weaken him, but all that’s actually done is drive him into the arms of China.

“He needs to know there’s a threat now, he needs to know, he does need to know, it is so far and no further.

“I think the West historically, up until a few years ago, provoked Putin stupidly.

“I felt the ever, ever eastward expansion of NATO and the European Union was giving Putin a reason to go to war. I guess the question is, what do we do now? And yes, I do support us giving munitions and help to Ukraine but I feel the war is a complete stalemate.

“I think the number of lives being lost is horrific. There have been no sensible, substantive negotiations of any kind and even if negotiations to try and find a peace, to try and find a way through, fail, I think it’s better to have those negotiations than not.”

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NATO expansion ‘provoked’ Ukraine war, says Farage

That is a disaster’

Mr Farage also said he has an issue with migrants coming to Britain and continuing to speak their own language.

He said: “I have a huge problem with people coming to Britain, not assimilating, maintaining their own languages.

“You know, not mixing in communities. That is a disaster.”

Euro 2024: England captain Harry Kane responds to Gary Lineker’s criticism of dismal Denmark draw | UK News

England captain Harry Kane has said he is feeling as “fit as I have all season” and is “getting fitter with each game” as he responded to criticism of the national team’s performances at Euro 2024.

Kane’s comments come after Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate suggested his players are not fit enough following flat performances against Serbia and Denmark.

On Tuesday, they face Slovenia in their final Group C match in Cologne.

England are in a strong position to reach the knockout stages, but Southgate has said this week his players have “limitations” and are struggling to play a pressing game and disrupt the opposing team because of their physical condition.

England's Harry Kane playing darts during a media day at Schlossverein Blankenhain in Blankenhain, Germany. Picture date: Sunday June 23, 2024.
Image:
Harry Kane played darts during a media day at the team’s base in Germany. Pic: PA

Although among the favourites to go all the way in Germany this summer, they have opened Euro 2024 with a 1-0 win over Serbia and an underwhelming 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.

Asked whether he feels he can play in all of England’s games in the tournament at the level he wants to play at, Kane, who was substituted in the second half on Thursday, nonetheless said: “In the first game I felt as fit as I have all season.

“Of course, I know I came off [the pitch] in the second game, but that was down to the manager wanting to… maybe freshen up the front players especially.

“So, from my point of view I’m fit, getting better and better with each game and fitter with each game.”

The Bayern Munich striker, who missed the end of the German domestic season with a back injury, said it was more important to “make sure you’re coming into your peak towards the most important part of the tournament which is the knockouts”.

‘It’s tough to play for England’

Asked about comments from former England striker-turned-pundit Gary Lineker, who described the Three Lions’ performance against the Danes as “s***”, Kane urged his illustrious predecessor and others to “remember what it was like to wear the shirt” before criticising current players.

Read more:
Southgate says ‘huge amount of work’ to do after Denmark draw

Three England problems Southgate must solve – analysis
Pitch invaders disrupt Euro 2024

Pic: PA
Image:
Match Of The Day host Lineker was critical of England’s display against Denmark. Pic: PA

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Kane said: “I’d never want to be disrespectful to any player, especially, you know, a player who’s worn the shirt and knows what it’s like to play for England.

“Maybe ex-players or ex-players who are pundits now have got to realise… it’s very hard not to listen to [what they say] now, especially for some players who are not used to it or some players who are new to the environment.

“So I always feel like [former players and pundits] have a responsibility. I know they’ve got to be honest and give their opinion, but also they have a responsibility of being an ex-England player.

“The bottom line is, we haven’t won anything as a nation for a long, long time. And, you know, a lot of these ex-players were part of that as well… they do know that it’s tough to play in these major tournaments. It’s tough to play for England.”

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England booed after Denmark draw

Kane also said the squad is in a “good place” despite widespread criticism of the team’s first two performances and being booed and jeered following the 1-1 draw in Frankfurt.

Before taking questions, the striker played darts with reporters.

Murder arrest after man in his 90s found dead in Gloucestershire | UK News

A murder investigation has been launched after a man believed to be aged in his 90s was found dead at a house in Hambrook.

Police were called to the property on Mill Lane in the south Gloucestershire village by the ambulance service on Saturday morning.

A man was found dead at the scene.

A man in his 60s has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is in police custody.

Avon and Somerset Police said a formal identification process is yet to be completed but officers believe the man is in his 90s.

His family have been told and are being supported by family liaison officers.

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Neighbourhood Chief Inspector Steph McKenna said it appears the two men knew each other and there is not believed to be any ongoing risk to the public.

“Our enquiries are at an early stage, but at this time it appears this was an isolated incident,” she said.

“Our thoughts are with the man’s family at this hugely upsetting time.”